What is the main theme of the story "The Snows of Kilimanjaro"?

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sagetrieb's profile pic

sagetrieb | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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One way to state the theme of a piece of literature is first to discover the topic of the piece, which in this case is death, and then put that into the form of a question: What does Harry's fate as a failed writer, his gangrenous leg, his dream of ascending to the white snow on the mountain, and the laugh of the hyena ("almost human") suggest about "death"? Perhaps it is something such as this:  In "The Snows of Kilimanjaro," Hemingway suggests that because we are all deeply flawed by our nature of being human, the shadow of death sharpens our desire to aspire to greatness." In any way you formulate your ideas on the theme, be sure you state it as a sentence with a subject, verb, and object, narrowing a "topic" to a universal truth about human experience.

brendawm's profile pic

brendawm | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

Death is the main theme of this story. It is a story of imminent death, and as such, images, ideas and character attitudes pervade the entire story. There is an excellent and thorough explanation of this theme along with the more minor theme of artistic creation at the link below.


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